Download PDF by P. B. Medawar: Advice To A Young Scientist

By P. B. Medawar

To these drawn to a existence in technological know-how, Sir Peter Medawar, Nobel laureate, deflates the myths of invincibility, superiority and genius; as an alternative, he demonstrates it's common feel and an inquiring brain which are necessary to the scientist's calling.

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The illusion that the other lane is moving faster is based on various objective factors. Subjective opinions are only part of the problem. The behavior of drivers in a busy lane is never completely constant. There are always some whose speed fluctuates, some who accelerate more fiercely and some more gently, some drivers who are just slightly anxious, while others lose their cool entirely. To complicate matters, the distance between vehicles is a (non-linear) function of their speed. The greater the speed, the greater the distance between the cars has to be.

At this point their lane is more bunched up, with less distance between the vehicles, so that we can pass many vehicles quickly. Let us suppose that we pass 50 in a minute. When it is our turn to be passed, on the other hand, it is the vehicles in the other lane passing us that are traveling faster, and so are more widely spaced out. More time, maybe 2 minutes, is required for an equal number (50) of vehicles to pass us. For this reason each vehicle spends more time being passed than in passing the others, but in the end we all arrive at the same time.

Their year contained 365 days, which was a reasonable approximation, and the days on which it started and ended had nothing to do with the phases of the moon. But the Egyptian civilization lasted a long time. As their year was about 6 h too short, over time those missing hours accumulated and became noticeable. Within a few dozen years it was clear that the official calendar was out of phase with the flood season on the Nile. After a period of 1460 years the calendar had gone through the annual seasons and returned to its starting point.

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